Air Center receives CARES funding
The Roswell Air Center will receive $1.23 million as part of the $2 trillion federal emergency relief act that has allocated money for businesses, nonprofits, government entities and individuals.
Scott Stark, director of the Air Center, said that he and other staff still need additional information from the Federal Aviation Administration before they will know how the funds can be used.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump on March 27 includes $25.23 million for 50 New Mexico airports to help them maintain operations and infrastructure during a time when their revenues from government and businesses are decreasing.
The Roswell Air Center has been allocated $1,233,016, the third-largest amount in the state after Albuquerque International Sunport ($19.7 million) and Santa Fe Municipal Airport ($1.86 million), according to an announcement of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation.
That delegation includes Sens. Tom Udall, D-Santa Fe; and Martin Heinrich, D-Albuquerque; and Reps. Ben Ray Lujan, D-Nambe; Deb Haaland, D-Albuquerque; and Xochitl Torres Small, D-Las Cruces.
Other southeastern airports receiving funding include Lea County Regional Airport in Hobbs ($1.1 million), Artesia Municipal Airport ($30,000), Cavern City Air Terminal in Carlsbad ($69,000), the Lea-Jal airport in Jal ($20,000) and the Clovis Municipal Airport ($69,000).
The announcement indicated that airports are crucial links for U.S. transportation and supply chain networks and necessary for “frontline” workers and hospitals to be equipped and able to perform their work. The FAA indicates the funding is also intended to allow needed safety and growth projects to continue.
According to the FAA, the CARES Act has provided $10 billion in grants to airports through the Airport Improvement Program and a supplementary discretionary grant program. New funding is also being given to all airports in the national airport network, which includes all commercial airports, all reliever airports and some publicly owned general aviation airports. Funds were expected to be disbursed in April.
Stark said that he and others will be discussing with FAA officials exactly how the money can be used.
“Part of it is for projects and part of it is for operational help,” Stark said. “We have a lot of planning and discussions and talking to do before we will know exactly how we can utilize the funding.”
Stark said the Roswell Air Center has seen about a 95% reduction in the passenger fees and other fees it usually receives from commercial air service, but he added that revenues for airplane storage has increased as several different airline companies have chosen to store their aircraft in Roswell as they have cut flights.
The Roswell Air Center now has about 400 parked planes, with about 250 coming since March 18, according to other airport staff.
Stark said that it is still unknown how the situation will affect tenant or rental payments on Air Center facilities.